| Using water efficiently - Technological options |
This review of the technological options for using water efficiently is a timely and valuable contribution to the work of the World Bank. Water Projects currently account for about 1 15% of the Bank's annual lending. Typically, such projects have focused on irrigation and drainage, water supply and sanitation, hydropower development, flood control, and river basin management. They play a vital role in the promotion of economic growth and reduction of poverty in the developing countries. Nevertheless, it has become apparent that increasingly complex design issues will need to be addressed in the coming years. Given the rapidly rising demand, water supplies are severely stretched. The situation can only worsen as the world's population grows, urbanization accelerates, standards of living rise, and human activities become more diversified. Issues of water use efficiency, always an important concern in water projects, will move to centerstage.
The World Bank's draft Water Policy Paper, discussed extensively both within and outside the Bank, addresses some of the new concerns. It emphasizes comprehensive water resources management. The promotion of water use efficiency through the adoption of appropriate technologies to increase water availability and efficiencies of water allocation and distribution is identified as an important element of water strategies designed to deal with growing water shortages, costly new supplies and environmental concerns.
This paper was prepared as an input into the process of developing the Bank's Water Policy. The Bank has also focussed squarely on environmental issues and on sustainable development. In the context of water, this has meant assisting the transition to an orientation towards conservation. The exploration of technological options for using water efficiently, discussed cogently and lucidly in this paper, is a step towards that objective.
Agriculture and Natural Resources Department